Old Dominion and UCONN Press Conference Quotes

March 25, 2002
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

March 25, 2002

Old Dominion Press Conference Quotes

Old Dominion Quotes Head Coach Wendy Larry:

On the first game versus Connecticut: "I think it changes when you get to this stage of the tournament. Certainly, they will keep things under control, when you get here it becomes a case of how many whistles they don't blow."

On the game of women's basketball: "Back in the early 70s when I was an assistant, there weren't many schools selling women's basketball. Later on, people became to understand that this would be the women's sport to follow. Now you have 200 schools placing emphasis on it and put pressure to be successful. You have to continue to pursue non conference scheduling, especially for a school like Old Dominion. We have established good relationships with schools like Tennessee and Connecticut. This schedule prepares us for the NCAA tournament."

On the last time Old Dominion faced Connecticut: "I think we are a much better basketball team than we once were. We area better defensive basketball team and our bench is better. Last time we played UCONN, our bench was nonexistent. Certainly how our starters start the game is important. We know what UCONN is all about, we know why they are so good and we know that we have a shot to beat them on Monday night."

On Connecticut's weaknesses: "I can't think of many of the top of my head, but if I did I wouldn't let you guys know."

On why the Elite Eight game is the toughest game to advance: "It's because the crown is 40-plus minutes away. There is only one team that will end their season on a win. You are one game away from being in the showcase of Division I women's basketball."

On Swin Cash: "I think Swin Cash had a tremendous game because she is a tremendous player. Certainly our foul trouble, we had to go to our bench early. If they blow a lot of whistles, they have five All-Americans and we have two. If we have two foul out, we have none and they have three left on their bench."

On Sue Bird: "I'm the president of her fan club. I envy his (Geno Auriemma) point guards. She has the best court vision of any of his point guards. Not only is she a tremendous passer, she hits the big three. She is a great competitor. She wants the ball in her hands."

Forward Lucienne Berthieu:

On the game against Connecticut: "Thinking back, the first half of the game had a lot of fouls called and missed shots on our side, second half we made some shots and played better, but we couldn't come back. We are happy to have the opportunity to play them again."

On the first game versus Connecticut: "The turning point was managing my foul trouble. The team had to play the second half with me on the bench and we needed an inside presence, that made me realize how much I needed to stay on the court and out of foul trouble."

On her knee injury: "It's come a long way. My confidence is back, just knowing what my role is on the team and what I bring and what my teammates and coaches expect from me. I wasn't as feeling as confident as I am now. I'm not trying to find excuses, but I am feeling a lot better now than I was in December."

Guard Sharron Francis:

On Sue Bird: "She is a good floor leader for UCONN, she is a good scorer too."

On Connecticut: "We know defensively that they are shooters, we need to put pressure on them defensively."

Guard Tiffany Thompson: On matching up with Connecticut: "They also have a big lineup, it is a pretty equal match up. Athletic wise, we hope we can learn from our mistakes."

Guard Monique Coker: On what it takes to beat Connecticut: "I think we can attack them off our dribble and try to draw fouls, we didn't do that well in the first game."

Connecticut Press Conference

Connecticut Quotes Head Coach Geno Auriemma:

On what he is worried about from Old Dominion: "I think the same things that concerned us the first time, they are very physically and very athletic and they do a pretty good job of getting the ball to the big kid. They make enough outside shots to make you worry about other players too."

On if tomorrow's game will be physical: "Yeah, you've got a lot of big strong kids running up and down the floor. There is going to be a lot that is going to happen. The officials will have a lot of judgments to make. If that happens, it is tough for the kids to play in that game. We've got a good crew tomorrow, I think it is the best crew that we've had at a regional."

On the history surrounding Old Dominion: "In 1978 season I coached St. Josephs (Pa.) and we played at Old Dominion that year and Nancy Lieberman was on that team-great team. They were the program that everyone in America emulated, they had the best players, the best fans, so I have seen their glory days first hand all the way to today. Everyone who is a women's basketball fan knows the name of Old Dominion."

On how to play tomorrow's game: "I think we want to play the same way (we played the first game versus Old Dominion). (Running) has been our style all year. The game is a lot better when it is played that way. In order for the game to be played that way, all the best players need to stay in the game. There have been a lot of well-officiated games this year, but when we played at Old Dominion, there were a lot of fouls called. We move a lot with the ball and they are physical, the refs will have their hands full tomorrow."

On nerves heading into the game: "I think that Old Dominion feels that we have been here before, but it will still be nerve-wracking. It still doesn't make you nervous, you will still feel butterflies more so than any other game no matter how many times you have played. I don't care who you are playing, I feel that way before every NCAA game."

On making practice a challenge: "I think kids today are always trying to find an easy way to do something. So it is my job to make it as impossible as I can and sometimes I make it impossible. Everyday when they come to practice, they have to expect to solve the impossible."

On expectations: "We've been dealing with expectations since the preseason. We have had to play 36 games of having to deal with the expectations of going to the Final Four. One more game is not going to change our approach. It is a great situation for them (Old Dominion) to be in. Party crashers usually get beat up or arrested, at least where I come from."

On sustaining a program: "The biggest thing is an incredible amount of circumstances that all came together in a proper sequence to happen. Also, there is a long list of schools that have been really good for a short period of time and were not able to sustain it. We probably work harder at it now than we did ten years ago. At Connecticut, we are thinking about women's basketball twelve months out of the year, that is generally not the case across the country."

On Old Dominion: "Part of it is their success on the inside. (Tiffany) Thompson hits three's to make people aware of her. You don't get to this point being one-dimensional. I don't think it is easy to put your finger on what they do."

Guard Sue Bird:

On Old Dominion improving: "We've improved too. If any team was at a standstill since December, they wouldn't be here."

On being recruited by Connecticut: "I was definitely very interested in UCONN, that was my number one school all along. I had to give other schools a look, but from day one, UCONN was number one on my list."

On keeping busy during the off day: "I think our coaches do a good job of keeping us entertained. We always have things to do. Today we watched a little film, played `Go Fish.' Every year, we always find something to do. We try to keep busy, but at the same time we are eager to get going."

On the close-knit program of Connecticut: "I think it is just the relationship you develop with everybosdy. Our class is really close. I can view myself five years from now coming back and practicing with them and giving it back to the younger guys."

On being a point guard at Connecticut: "You really have to learn to take responsibility, you have to be assertive and aggressive. There is a lot on your plate if you are a point guard, especially at Connecticut."

Forward Swin Cash: On improving over the summer: "I think every year if you are a competitive player, you try to improve over the summer. This year, I worked on some things over the summer and I came mentally ready to do the things I needed to, to help the team."

On how tomorrow's game will be played: "I think the pace of the game will be the same, but our team didn't paly anywhere close to our A game. I want to go out there and play hard. I know we will be succssesful."

On getting into a normal routine: "Tomorrow we will be back to our normal routine, back to study hall because we have school tomorrow."

On the close-knit UCONN family: "Anytime a player can comeback and have a connection to the program after graduation is great."

Center Asjha Jones:

On Saturday's game against Penn State: "In the first half we didn't do a good job of helping people out. I know I didn't help Diana out, but in the second half I tried to do that better."

On Old Dominion: "They are confident. They are scrappy and play hard. It will be a tough game tomorrow. If we don't match their competitiveness, it will be a long night."

On Coach Auriemma's practices: "That is the main goal for coach is to make things harder in practice then in the games. You need to accept that challenge and get in that mindset."

Forward Tamika Williams:

On Saturday's game against Penn State: "There is a lot to be said about that first half. We gave them a lot of open looks and we didn't defend them well. In the second half we did better, but not our best (defense). That is something we have done all year."

On the pressure of playing in the Elite Eight: "There is always pressure and there is always a game like tomorrow's. It feels like both teams will put everything on the line, it just comes down to who wants it more."